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Wesleyan Chapels of Old
The First Wesleyan Chapel was built in Penistone in 1808 opposite the current 'Adore' shop, costing £150 to build. It became too crowded for its congregation after the steelworks and railway came along and a new chapel was opened in 1873. The old chapel was converted into dwellings and became numbers 22-24 High Street. The founder and trustee, John Hardy, surgeon, died 1817 aged 67. He gave a tithe of one tenth of his income to acts of charity and religious institutions, telling his children that 'The more he gave the more he got'.

The 'New Wesleyan Chapel', St Paul's, opened 9th September 1873, costing £1,600 to build. It was lit by gas, heated by hot air and could seat 400. It had a school room around the back which was used for Sunday School and for local meetings, for such as 'The Independent Order of Rechabites - Salford Unity Friendly Society'. A new organ was fitted in 1885 at a cost of £80. The first sketch below shows how it appeared in an old Penistone Almanack.

It was creaky, spooky and a little bit scary when I went to Sunday School as a nipper. I remember some details of the school room; the tulip lamp shades and those top windows which were opened and closed by rope & pulley. Everything had a smell, which was mostly of wood. On some occasions we were taken into the pews on a normal Sunday Service, which to my young eyes was populated by very old people. Mostly white-haired old ladies, who smelt of very old ladies.

There was a dark grating on a wall nearby which the kids thought housed a bogeyman. We didn't know what a bogeyman was but knew that we were supposed to be scared of it and acted accordingly by running past it. Another scary thing was a nearby house with a statue of Christ just inside the open front door which was always partly open on Sundays for all to see. It was only a statue but we did not feel comfortable about it.

Old Wesleyan ChapelSt. Andrews Not clickable Netherfield Church

Netherfield Chapel
Netherfield Independent Chapel started in 1786 and religious meetings were held at the home of Mr William Moorhouse at his home in Thurlstone. Two of the founders were Joseph Ross and his brother John Ross. Its Chapel was built on Huddersfield Road in 1788 from an original gift of £25. A century later, in 1882, a new Sunday School and classrooms were added. It later became Netherfield Congregational Church and, from 1973, Netherfield United Reformed Church when it was extensively extended and rebuilt. A room was used by Penistone Grammar School for its drama classes in the 1960s.

The first register began in 1788 with baptisms and from that date the records were continuous until it closed in 1981. After that, the building was converted into a modern dwelling and part of its cemetery was paved to make a car park for residents. Most likely around 1981, St. Paul's and the Netherfield Church amalgamated into the new St. Andrews Methodist/United Reform Church. Netherfield (middle and right above) has a notable rose window but what is left of the graveyard is now neglected.

St Andrew's
St Paul's eventually became riddled with woodworm had to be demolished. It was replaced by the modern St Andrew's on the same site (picture second-left, above). The congregation of Netherfield Congregational Church was combined with that of St Paul's when the former closed down.

St Andrew's Church was built in an open and modern style. It is bright and colourful inside and is often used for more than just church activities. It has weekly organ concerts and occasional music concerts. It is also the home for Penistone FairTrade and Friends of the Earth meetings.

Spring Vale Methodist Church
The original "Tin Chapel" was built in 1860 but was replaced in 1927 by the current one. This church is more or less opposite Spring Vale school. These shots were taken in March 2006 on the occasion of the Gateway Club's musical evening, for which I mass-produced DVDs. I took the chance to explore a little as I had never been in this place before and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a good traditional styled chapel (sorry - church) with a proper organ. See Spring Vale on my tour page.

Close up of the Sign - not clickableChapelDown the AisleFrom the pulpit

Other Chapels
Other Methodist church/chapels can be found in Thurlstone, Millhouse Green and Ingbirchworth (closed 2012). Bullhouse Chapel has a very long history.

Back Top Home George Burns: 'The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible.'